A Sneak Peek at New Card Company Biscuit Illustration.
For this week’s ‘Behind the Design’ interview we’re getting an early look at new card company Biscuit Illustration. Founder, Illustrator (and biscuit fan) Rebecca Perkin shares a unique look at her beautiful animal-themed greeting cards, the inspiration behind her new business and a sneak peek at what is coming next for Biscuit Illustration.
Tell us a little about your company. What do you do?
Though I am not hard at work here, I am enjoying a cup of Indian tea!
I currently design animal-based greeting cards. After studying illustration at university I took a break from art. Since then, I’ve gone through periods of producing drawings or paintings, but it wasn’t until around 6 months ago that I began to take it seriously again. I started using a graphic design software application. This helped me find my passion for art again and enabled me to develop a style, which in turn led to the drawings that are now printed on my cards. The designs are simple, with elegant lines and just a splash of colour, to make them stand out.
People like to ask how I came up with the name for my company and I guess everything has a story behind it! After designing my cards and making the decision that I was going to get them printed to sell, I knew I didn’t want to just use my name. I wanted something that could develop into a brand, with the potential for different products. I thought about things that I associated with myself. For those that know me, they know how much I like biscuits, (though many say you wouldn’t know it to look at me!). I thought about the kind of things I liked, such as wandering around gift shops and perusing beautiful cards and home-made gifts. I also enjoy a good cup of tea and for me, and many others, these things can go hand in hand. What I would love is for people to browse my cards/products whilst enjoying a lovely English tea and a biscuit 🙂
What is your role in the business?
This question is pretty simple to answer. In my business I do everything! I’m the artist, the designer and the seller. The only thing I outsource is the printing of my cards.
Is there anyone else in the team? Tell us about them.
Currently there isn’t anyone else in the team. But I do get some business advise from my partner(!) and feedback from friends and family on designs. I also have a degu (for those who don’t know what a degu is, look them up, they’re pretty cool!) who is going to be my next model for a range of South American animals.
What is a typical day like at your business?
My days can vary greatly. To start with I spent a lot of time drawing, to get enough material. After that it was time looking at printers and how I wanted my cards printed, and on what paper, etc. Since then I have been pounding the streets selling my cards and making myself known as an illustrator/company.
What inspires which product lines you create?
I am an animal lover(!) so they make up the basis for my inspiration. I love the expressions animals have and I try my best to create that with just a few lines. I’ve also discovered just how much people love animals. If you show someone a picture of a cute hedgehog or a goofy giraffe they love it! It doesn’t matter what type of animal it is, as everyone loves something – even spiders are loved by someone!
Tell us about your design style.
It could be said that my design style is traditional, to a degree, as I am working with animals, but my line-art style is more contemporary. I find that life now is so busy, there is so much of everything. Even with cards, there seems to be lots out there that have so much colour, so much going on, which can be great, but sometimes having some white space, some time to actually look at the card and what’s going on allows you to see the image more clearly.
Are there any other card or gift designers you admire?
I love Wrendale Designs (known for their gorgeous nature inspired greeting cards). Like mine their cards and products are animal-based, but they are much more traditional than my own. Another card company/design that I love is ‘The Little Dog Laughed’. Not only do they have some lovely images, they have great sayings with them too, that any animal owner can relate to.
What is your personal favourite product in your collection?
I have a couple of favourites, the first one being the hare. I’m not sure if this is because it is one of the first I did, or whether it is just the elegance she has, but I definitely love her! Another one is the puffin. He seems to have great character and with his one little foot in the air you really get a sense of how he might move.
What are the most popular products in your current range?
There are a few popular designs that run through all the ranges. Some of these are the badger, duck, and crocodile. But people do have a hard time making their decisions!
What new products do you have planned for the future?
The cards have been my main focus and there are still lots more I could produce with lots of different animal ranges. I would like to branch out into other products, such as stationery and homeware too.
What is it like seeing your products in shops?
It’s a really strange thing seeing my cards in shops. Even when I see them in there with my name above them and sometimes a sign saying ‘local illustrator’ it feels surreal. You get a buzz when you sell your products and then a different kind of feeling when you see them actually in the shop. What I really like is going back in and seeing that some have sold! I then realise my product is in someone else’s home, and with cards it goes one step further; it will be passed onto someone else, someone they love and even more people will enjoy it. Cards can reach every corner of the world!
Manufacturing & Production.
What can you tell us about how your products are made?
I do the majority of the design on the software. Sometimes I might sketch out some ideas by hand if I can’t quite get the design to work. But the great thing about working on a computer is it is so easy to erase things! The stroke of colour is created using a certain brush on the software, to give that paintbrush ‘look’.
Do your products feature any special materials?
I looked at printing companies carefully as I wanted one that specialised more with artists. After some research I found a great company called SixPrint in Cornwall. I had samples of card sent to me and decided on a white textured card that I thought would compliment my designs well. I wanted a fairly luxurious looking card that was of good thickness to offset the designs. I also opted for brown envelopes as I thought they worked well with the stark white card. Another reason why I settled on SixPrint as my printers was because they are supporters of The Woodland Trust project and use only carbon captured papers for the production of their greeting cards. It was important for me to choose something like this to help protect our woodlands, as this is where a lot of the animals I draw live!
What would you like to do next with the business?
I would love to turn my ideas into a brand and develop designs that I can place on products to sell all over the UK (and worldwide!), so that people can enjoy my designs in their homes. The next step is for me to look at stationery and homeware products and see which ones I think will work best with my designs.
Where do you dream of seeing your products next?
I would love to see my designs in somewhere like the National Trust, larger home stores and other animal-based arenas such as zoos.
Thank You Rebecca!
Now you’ve read the interview, why not take a look at the collection. Visit the Biscuit Illustration website.